Sam Freedman is keeping his nerves in check as Everest favourite Santa Ana Lane eyes redemption in the $14 million sprint at Randwick.
The gun sprinter ($4.60) can prove his world-class credentials when he returns for a second crack at Everest riches on Saturday.
The Freedman Racing stable has been waiting 12 months to atone for last year when Santa Ana Lane struggled to sixth on a soggy track.
“We’re really here to try to get some redemption,” assistant trainer Freedman told AAP.
“This year looks like we’ve got some nice weather and hopefully we’ll get a good track.
“We feel we have one of the top sprinters in the world and Saturday is an opportunity to hopefully showcase that.”
Freedman is wearing the gelding’s favouritism for the 1200m-feature well, brushing away talk of pre-race butterflies.
“There’s no real nerves,” he said.
“He’s favourite but he’s a seasoned campaigner and takes it all in his stride.
“Hopefully he can get the money on Saturday.”
Perhaps Freedman’s mindset is reflective of Santa Ana Lane’s methodical preparation this campaign under the watchful eye of Sam’s father Anthony, after securing TAB’s Everest slot in May.
Apart from two barrier trials, the TJ Smith and VRC Classic winner has been sighted just once since then when second behind Everest rival Sunlight ($13) in the Flemington’s Gilgai Stakes on October 5.
The early guarantee of a spot in the 12-strong field gave the Freedman team options as they mapped out the seven-year-old gelding’s Everest path – even when things went awry.
“We had a Plan A which didn’t quite work out with The Shorts when they (Randwick) got so much rain that week. So we went to Plan B which we always had in play,” Freedman said.
“That’s certainly an advantage with knowing you’re in the race early. It allows you to account for all different types of setbacks you can get in a preparation.”
Santa Ana Lane was the world’s highest-rated sprinter when he ran a creditable fourth in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize at Sha Tin in March.
He started the short-priced favourite in Hong Kong but Freedman took encouragement from that effort as he lamented the lack of speed in the race.
He has his fingers crossed there will be enough pace to avoid a repeat on Saturday and slingshot Santa Ana Lane to the front.
“(Nature Strip’s) obviously an on-pacer and there’s Sunlight and Redzel as well,” Freedman said.
“They should go at enough of a gallop – especially running on top of the ground with a good track – to bring some back-markers into calculation.
“But Nature Strip being in the race, often some stand off and let him get his own way in front but hopefully they do run along a bit.”